What’s the “pebble in your shoe”?

I spend a lot of time analyzing, evaluating, investigating. Being on the planet is not completely comfortable for me (I’m sure that applies to many/most? of us). So I am always trying to figure out where the current or largest “pebble in my shoe” is coming from.

The other day I read this – “I’m anxious about work” doesn’t tell you much about yourself. “I don’t like working with people,” or “I don’t like driving for 45 minutes a day” tells you a lot more.”  — the author’s point was that we should “pay attention to what worries us the most” (Human Performance Psychology) – and that little internal bell went off – that’s a “shoe pebble”.

Another way a person could get to this is with the “5 whys” which is a Root Cause Analysis method. In this particular RCA technique you repeatedly ask the question “Why” (five is a good rule of thumb), until you can peel away the layers of symptoms which can lead to the root cause of a problem. Very often the initially assumed reason for a problem will lead you to another question. Although this technique is called “5 Whys,” you may find that you will need to ask the question fewer or more times than five before you find the issue related to a problem. (paraphrased from isixisgma).

The funny thing is I had never thought about applying the 5 whys to a “life” problem until I read that sentence “pay attention to what worries you most” …getting to “I don’t like driving 45 minutes a day” is totally an answer to “why” in relation to “I’m anxious about work”



In case you’re curious about where the 5 Whys came from:

“The basis of Toyota’s scientific approach is to ask why five times whenever we find a problem … By repeating why five times, the nature of the problem as well as its solution becomes clear.“ Taiichi Ohno

5 whys: The Ultimate Root Cause Analysis Tool


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s